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Part 1: Proper Maintenance Ensures Door Hardware Performs as Designed
By Thomas A. Westerkamp
December 2008 -
Doors & Hardware
Institutional and commercial facilities rely on the long-term performance of building-envelope components to protect operations and valuable in-place assets. Increasingly, these components — especially doors, door hardware and walls — also are becoming important players in managers’ efforts to curtail energy use in facilities.
Air and water leaks around these envelope components can damage buildings and their systems, but they also can drive up the costs to heat and cool facilities. Properly maintained, they seal the building envelope and contribute much-needed savings to the organization’s bottom line.
Doors and door hardware, including exit devices, locks, hinges and closers, tend to absorb tremendous amounts of use and abuse in the course of a facility’s daily operations. A comprehensive program of inspection, testing and repair can help managers ensure these components perform as designed and provide security, accessibility and durability.
When first installed, a door and its frame were hung perfectly vertical, but over time, many doors and frames warp or settle, leading to sticking and the failure to close and latch. Workers can repair minor sticking or latch problems quickly by using soap at the rubbing point or tightening the hinges, if the screws are loose.
While quick, these repairs are seldom permanent. The screws eventually will not tighten anymore because the holes have become oversized. To address the problem, workers will have to use a filler to address the problem.
For a more permanent repair in such cases, they can remove the screws, fill the holes and replace the screws. Fillers for wood frames can be wood dowels coated with glue, wood splinters, steel wool, wood-filler compound — often called plastic wood — or plastic or metal inserts.
Repairing metal framing requires metal inserts, larger screws, and retapped holes or longer screws to reach through the doorframe into the supporting structure in the wall behind the frame.
Correcting major misalignments begins with finding the cause of the problem. Workers can check the frame and door to find out which is out of alignment. The solution might be to reposition the frame by adjusting the shims that have loosened behind the doorframe.
Another possibility is the door has warped or sprung, due to being hit by large objects or material-handling equipment. In such cases, the solution is to repair the damaged section. If the damage is extensive, workers need to replace the door. Managers will have to identify the cause of the problem and either take steps to prevent a repeat problem or replace the door with a type that can withstand the punishment.
Door Hardware and the Building Envelope
Part 2: Fire Doors Offer Unique Maintenance Requirements
Part 3: Wall Maintenance Depends on Construction Type
Part 4: Tuckpointing Seals Small Cracks, Averts Major Repairs
Part 5: Sandblasters Effective in Cleaning Exterior Walls